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to the welfare and happiness of men committed to their protection and rapport; and they will find how much good may be realized when the pressing duties of a seaman's career are called forth under the guidance of unswerving justice and humanity ;—that a willing and cheerful obedience will go hand in hand, while mutual respect and confidence shall pervade throughout that ship, which, in perfect discipline, displays the union of external beauty and internal order, with the experience of contentment and happiness on the part of her gallant crew.
"The reports of the medical officers of the Dreadnought prove the frequent occurrence of cases of scurvy, of the very worst description, to which the committee beg to draw the particular attention of owners and masters of ships—experience shewing that the remedy of this baneful enemy to the seaman, does not consist so much upon fresh meat diet, as upon a plentiful supply of vegetables, lime-juice, and fruit, whenever they can be procured and carried to sea."
The Dreadnought, 98, was one amongst the glorious fleet which subdued and vanquished the combined fleet of France and Spain, off Cape Trafalgar, and was given by government to the public as a floating hospital for seamen of every nation :—this is one of the best conducted and most valuable institutions in England.
Madrai, May 27th, 1810.
A Position of importance to steam navigation has been laid down in Mercator's observations on Atlantic steamers, in the June number of the Nautical 1840, viz:—that they ought to be constructed on the model of fast rowing boats instead of sailing vessels. Having long entertained a similar opinion, though founded on a less extended examination of rowing boats, my conclusions are yet in some degree at variance with those advocated by Mercator. His arguments are weakened (I conceive) rather than enforced by such a marked reference to boats adapted for being launched through a surf, as the conditions under which the large steamers are impelled against heavy seas, coincide more nearly with those to which the east and west coasts gigs or gallies are subjected to, in rough weather among waves, comparatively as large in proportion to their size. In these boats the displacements of the fore and aft bodies are nearly equal, and the result is a great degree of regularity and ease in their pitching motion.
The only boat with which I am acquainted, the displacements of whose after-body exceeds that of the fore-body, is the Thames wherry.* When loaded aft, and judging from her performance in the head seas of the river, my opinion would not be in favour of that form. They are obviously however impelled by a small force under such circumstances, but, I conceive they are inferior to the common form of gig; more especially if the seas rise a point or two on either bow, as would occur to steamers in keeping a direct course. In this case the diagonal pitching
• A most dangerous boat.—Ed. ENLARGED SERIES NO. 5.—VOL. FOR 1841. 2 <* is extremely uneasy, unless the displacements at the extremities of the vessel are well balanced. At the same time I should not entertain rouch fear of the largest steamer pitching bows under if constructed according to Mercator's directions. In regard to Baltimore clippers their main breadth is often well forward, so that though their bows are extremely sharp, yet the displacements of the fore-body much exceed that of the after one.
This may account for their safety forward. The most peculiar formed boats I have seen are those belonging to a village to the north of Tynemouth castle. They were, I understood, surf boats; and though the forms of the after and fore bodies were extremely dissimilar, still the relative amount of displacement was nearly equal. Their main breadth was before the centre, especially aloft. The fore-body was formed by timbers convex below, but straight and upright above, which were extremely well joined to the flat floor \ in the after-body the flat floor was continued in a gradual taper to a bluff end, but rising in a slight curve so as to keep the displacement about equal to that of the bow. It is evident that a stern oar would rapidly sweep round the stern and present the bow to a breaking wave. The preservation of this condition of equality in the capacity of the fore and after bodies, when the latter is made of such a remarkable form, confirmed my idea of its advantage in conducing to ease and regularity in pitching. In large steamers it would much conduce to cabin accommodation, to keep the upper water lines aft fuller than the bow lines, while the reverse would take place in the lower water lines. The lower part of the bow timbers would thus become convex, while that of the stern timbers would be concave: consequently the centre of the displacement from a given length from the stem and stern at the water line would be higher in the after than in the fore-body, with equal displacements.
The fore-body so formed would offer a greater resistance to the initial velocity of pitching, but less resistance to stop it suddenly, and such motion would be quietly ended without a jerk by the gradual action al the increased displacement.
The difficulty has long been felt of forcing a-head the form of bow adapted for rising over the waves, common in life boats. Speed with a moderate amount of power can only be obtained by extreme sharpness forward, and in that point I fully coincide with Mercator (lightness is here included) though a prodigious rake must be objectionable from it, its mass of materials being unsupported by an equivalent displacement below. A rake of 20° from the perpendicular would be the utmost amount that could be allowed, which would be sufficient for beauty of appearance, and enough to throw off the ware in the plunge, in pitching.
The fast river boats are flat-floored gigs on a large scale, with ends sharper than usual in sea boats of that class; probably sharper than the boats used in river rowing matches. The latter, with the necessary wash-strakes, are supposed to be incapable of competing with the medium sea galley in rough water. The change from a river to a sea steamer requires attention, not only to this point, but a fuller midship section to enable it to carry the requisite load. In a subsequent letter I propose to forward some observations on this part of the subject.
The only sailing vessels to which any regard should b« paid in the construction of steam-boats I conceive, are the smuggling luggers which were powerful sailing gaHies possessed of but few properties in common with ships. Their midship displacement is probably about equal to that required for sea-going steamers, but their rising floor is not adapted for a long stroke in the engines. Cordially joining in Mercator's opinion, thai all idea of a ship should be entirely abandoned in the construction of a passenger steamer, and that the principles on which loaded rawing boats ought to be constructed, are the only safe guides, his reasoning has not convinced me, that an Atlantic steamer, constructed on his proposals, would "swiman her after-body" in a satisfactory manner: yet, a bold experiment of this nature would afford most valuable assistance in ascertaining the limits of the variation of the relative fore and aft displacements which might be used in large steamers, and their relative advantages; and, I trust the uncompromising manner in which the present system of attempting to force vessels, built on sailing models with powerful engines, at a high speed through the water, has been denounced, will lead to a general inquiry into the principles that ought to become our guide, in the construction of Atlantic steamers. It may be urged that the form here advocated is that which is in common use, and as far as concerns the equality of the fore and after bodies, I believe no variation is proposed ; but a less depth, and sharper ends, with similar engines in proportion to a given displacement, would be a variation of some influence on the speed. The length and breadth must be increased and consequently the cost for a given engine power—a circumstance not favourable to its introduction. The increase of speed obtained by seven feet added beam to the Liverpool, is a practical illustration of these views.
Loss Of The Indian Oak.
The following abstract of a journal kept in the transport, "Indian Oak," from the time of her leaving Chusan to the return of her crew after shipwreck, on the Loo-choo Islands, in August last, affords so much room for comment, that we are induced to place it on record in the pages of the Nautical. The pendant was hoisted on the 8th of August, and after tailing on a ledge of rocks the next day, from which she was extricated, the Indian Oak finally sailed on the 10th, at which time we shall commence our abstract.
Monday, August 10th, 1840, A.m—Light winds, north to N.N.W., and fine weather-, 8h. weighed in company with H.M.S. Alligator, armed transport Bremer, transports Bluridell and Isabella Robertson.
Noon; parted company with Alligator, &c, they steering for the sonth-east passage; stood on with Isabella Robertson through Goughs Passage.
P.h.; parted company with the Isabella Robertson, she steering to northward of Quesan group. 9h. Pata-he-cock E.b.N., four or five miles. Midnight; strong breezes and cloudy.
Tuesday \Uh, A.m.—Fresh gales northerly, and hard squalls at interTals. Departure taken from Pata-he-cock, when it bore E.b.N, four or five miles at 7h. P.m. of the 10th.
Noon; bar. 29-63, ther. 84-00; course per log, S. 54° E„ 102 miles, lat. observed, 28° 26' 17" N., long, chron. 123° 24' 15" E., lat. D.R. 28° 23' 0", long. D.R. 123° 47' 0". Set westerly twenty miles.
P.m. 6h. gale increasing, with a very heavy sea; ship labouring heavy; close reefed the topsails, furled the courses, and sent down topgallant yards.
Midnight; bar. 29-50; severe gale and a high turbulent sea.
Wednesday 12th, A.m. —Commences with a severe gale, north, north to east, and a high turbulent sea; ship labouring heavy; the main rigging so very slack as to make it unsafe to carry sail without endangering the mast. In consequence, the fish tackles were got up, the rigging swifted in, and topmast backstays lashed below the cheeks and set up.
Noon; bar. 29-40, ther. 86-00; ditto weather and sea. Lat. observed 27° 13' 22" N., long, chron. 124° 0' 45" E., lat. D.R. 26° 53'8", long. D.R. 125° 31'. Set N. 27° W. 23 miles.
P.m. sent down main-top-gallant yard and mast; furled the fore and mizen topsails, and hove to under close reefed main-topsail.
Midnight; bar. 29-35; severe squalls and rain, with a continued gale and sea, the barometer falling down to 29-35.
Thursday 13th, A.m.—Hard gale, north to N.N.W., with a very high sea, and very severe squalls, with rain; ship labouring very heavy. The mainmast having great play, owing to the rigging being so slack, I much fear we shall lose it.
Noon; bar. 29-35, ther. 86 00; course per log S. 20° E, thirty-seven miles. Lat. observed 26° 39' N., long, chron. 124° 59' E., lat. D.R. 26° 38', long. D.R. 125° 45'. Set westerly ten miles.
P.m. squalls less severe and longer lulls; sea very high laying to under close reefed main-topsail. 3h. set close reefed main-topsail. 6h. set the foresail. 8h. strong gales and heavy squalls. lOh. set the mainsail.
Midnight; strong gales and hard squalls.
Friday I'lth, A.m.—Strong gales, N.N.W., and frequent hard squalls with a very heavy sea. 5h. 30m. more moderate; sea still running high, and the ship labouring very heavy; out third reef of maintopsail, and reef of the foresail.
lOh. course per log allowing one poiRt lee way according to Capt. Grainger's opinion is S. 66° 30'. E. 121 miles; lat. D.R. 25° 51' N., long. 127° 2' E.
From my own observations and opinion, the ship has made no lee way, but rather from the heave of the sea headed her reckoning, and has made a course from noon of yesterday, E. 13° S., 130 miles, which puts us in lat. D.R. 26° 10' N., from yesterday's chron. long. 127° 20' E.; wind north-west and W.N.W.
At the moment of working the above sights, Mr. Power, acting third officer, reported discoloured water; hauled out S.S.W., and saw the land indistinctly about N.b.W., with a line of breakers stretching north and south, close under our lee; at this time it was blowing hard with severe squalls and rain, the wind veering to the westward, the ship iroke off to the eastward of south; the weather so thick the land was scarcely visible at three miles distant; saw breakers ahead, and land on the weather how. Wore with the hope of clearing on the other tack. In the act of veering the fore-topniast-staysail and fore-topsail blew out of the bolt rope.
Finding we could not weather the coast on this tack, and an extensive reef of rocks stretching out from the island, on which there appeared no chance of saving the lives of the people, wore under the foresail and main-topsail, with the hope of running into what appeared an opening in the land, very indistinctly seen; but the foresail unfortunately at this moment blew out of the bolt rope, and left us without hope, shortly after which the ship struck, and in a few minutes more took the ground and fell over on her broadside: to the best of my judgment this was about 11 A.m., cut away the mainmast to ease the ship; at this time blowing very hard in severe gusts, W.S.W. to W.N.W., with rain, and so thick, that the land which was moderately high, and not more than two miles distant, was very indistinctly seen. The sea now made a clean breach over the ship: all hands collected in the cabin under the poop, and on the weather or starboard quarter, where I took up my station, the sea breaking over with great violence, and sending broken pieces of sheathing and copper over all.
On the ship first taking the ground lost our larboard-quarter boat, which was stove and washed on shore, (by which we observed the tide was falling;) there was no hope of saving our lives but by the wreck holding together, and getting a line on shore.
About noon, William Hayburn, passenger seaman, made an attempt to carry the end of the deep sea lead-line on shore, but owing to the very heavy surf and the very strong drawback he failed, and was with some difficulty hauled on board. Shortly after Mahomed Ally, Lascar made the attempt, and succeeded in getting on shore, but without the line. On the poor fellow getting a few yards above the surge, he fell down on the roeky ledge, apparently quite exhausted and much injured by the rocks. Men were now seen advancing towards the wreck, and to assist the man who had got on shore. Great numbers now came down and motioned us to land,
P.m. I2h. 30m. or half-past noon,—cut away the mizenmast to ease the poop, the ship completely over on her beam ends, and the sea making a clean breach fore and aft, and blowing a severe gale with heavy rain from W.S.W. About this time the ship broke her back and parted at the chest-tree, the fore part settling down into deeper water; an attempt was now made to launch the jolly-boat stowed on the launch, in doing which she was stove, and no part of her seen again; the end of the log-line was now made fast to a musket ramrod, and fired from a musket, but did not reach the shore. John Vincent, cook now made an attempt to swim on shore with a line but failed, and was hauled on board as in the first attempt. A Lascar named Inodee, now made the attempt, and succeeded in carrying the end of the log-line on shore, by which ttie end of the deep-sea-line was hauled on shore by the natives, but owing to the bight fouling the rocks, our intention of bending on a hawser was frustrated. Hatches, gratings, boats' oars, were all tied to float a line on shore, and lastly a pig, but all failed. It was now